When ‘Average’ Becomes ‘Not Good Enough’

When I was a kid, “average” was not on the list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.

I read a great blog yesterday titled: The Business of Average.  It was by AJ Leon and he said the following:  “There are many people in the business of average.  But you don’t have to be.  You can be in the business of remarkable, of delivering extraordinary.  When you walk up to the plate, you can muster up the courage to point your bat into the upper deck and park one over the left field wall.  And if you miss.  You can muster up the courage to stand up and do it all over again.  Average is not inherited or thrust upon us.  It’s a decision, a choice we make.  The bad news is that we can’t change the past. But the very good news is that tomorrow morning we get another shot to choose.”

The thing that drew me to his blog (and will inevitably have me returning to it on a regular basis) was an article he wrote for Positively Positive (yeah, call me Stuart Smalls – I even read about positivity and sometimes it helps and darn it people like me! ha).  I digress…  In the article he stated: “Some people are waiting for a sign; for some magical unicorn to deliver their life’s calling on a papyrus script before they leave a life that they know is not for them. I did it for a long while until that one glorious day when I decided that, in order to change the world, I had to change mine first.  You have only one life. And you can spend it living in the shadow of someone else’s destiny, playing it safe and following the well-lit paths—or you can grab a machete and hack down your own. At this very moment, you may not know what you want, but you sure as heck know what you don’t, and that’s all you need to start the adventure of a lifetime.”

He is right.  You don’t have to know what you want but it is usually with great ease that we find what we don’t want.  As most of you are already aware – I moved home to West Virginia in 2010 after my Ma passed away.  I wanted to be closer to my Daddy and to be there to help him struggle through the aftermath of her death.  I went from making NYC wages to the wages of small town WV.  Boy what a shock.  I still had NYC bills so adjusting was difficult.  I found myself with one “main” gig and MULTIPLE F&B gigs to make my ends meet (somewhat).  I desperately missed the life I left behind (my friends, the theater, NY in general).  2010 saw me at an all time low.  One week in October 2010 I worked 106 hours.  I had to count on my hands and toes how many hours were in a week to realize that it was a possibility.  My life sludged by, I was not living – I existed.

2011 rang in and it just got worse.  I applied alcohol – as I was tending bar and sloshing drinks – buy me a shot?  Sure!  I dated three different guys along the way, all VERY wrong fits but helped kill off the lonely.  Life was very unhealthy for me.  November came along and my friends Roasted me for my bday.  They will never fully realize how that Roast became the gateway to change in my life.  They were brutal and hilarious and full of the love and friendship that I needed to give me that nudge in the right direction.  It was then I realized what I didn’t want.  My life as it was at that moment – I did not want it.  And that is when the changes started.  By that weekend I had bloomed to an amazing 172 pounds – I have since started working out and running and have dropped 17 pounds as of this morning.  I signed up for a half marathon trail run (Gristmill Grinder in Babcock, WV).  It was the goal I put in front of myself.  My friends have convinced me to run two more races.  One sounds like all out fun – The Color Run 2012 in Charlotte in October.  Do I expect to be the first over the finish line?  Not this year but maybe next (goals people, goals)…  But these races are what motivate me to put one foot in front of the other when the weather is cold and I can see my breath in front of me as I run.

In addition to the running and getting healthy, I have made a ton of plans for the year.  Concerts (Flogging Molly next week), trips (OMG Colorado was a-mazing), friends and fun.  Once I switched my thoughts to a more positive landscape, things started falling into place.  Now, don’t get me wrong – my financial struggles are still just that, struggles.  But I won’t allow that to be an excuse to hold me back from happiness.

I will be training with West Virginia Skydivers starting on weekends in the Spring.  There I will learn to pack chutes and complete manifests in exchange for being thrown from a perfectly good airplane (as Daddy puts it).  My goal with them is to be able to BASE jump the New River Gorge Bridge in the weeks leading up to my 45th birthday.  So I have two years to get my jumps in.  I would love to eventually be a coach or instructor.  But that is a ways down the road (one foot in front of the other).

Look for big things from me this year.  Expect it.  And if you see me faltering – nudge me, will ya?    And, I want to take this opportunity to THANK my friends.  I am who I am because of you.  As Bette would say – the wind beneath my wings.  I love you guys.


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